• For Immediate Release
    May 18, 2016 - AUSTIN, TX
  • For more information, contact
    Chris Cutrone 512-305-8483

CPRIT Awards 35 New Grants, Surpasses the Halfway Point of its Authorized Funding


AUSTIN — The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) today surpassed the halfway point of its funding authority after awarding 35 new grants totaling around $79.2 million. Thirty-three of the grants were made through CPRIT’s academic research program and two through its product development research program.

To date, CPRIT has awarded 1,033 grants totaling more than $1.57 billion. The agency was launched in 2009 after Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2007 bond issue committing $3 billion to the fight against cancer.

“CPRIT’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer in Texas, and we’re doing just that,” said Wayne Roberts, CPRIT chief executive officer. “CPRIT funding has put a critical mass of cancer fighting energy into motion across the state – from labs and researchers to companies and prevention programs. This new round of grants bolsters Texas’ reputation as a leader in the cancer field.”

The academic research grants, totaling approximately $45.3 million, include around $19.7 million for funding of four Core Facility Support Awards, which help establish and enhance research facilities to bolster scientifically meritorious cancer research projects. Two Multi-Investigator awards are intended to form collaborations among researchers from multiple Texas institutions and focus on lung cancers – the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Texans. Twenty-one High-Impact/High-Risk grants will contribute major new insights and ideas into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. Additionally, six academic research grants support the recruitment of promising emerging cancer scientists to academic institutions in Texas, including two who will focus on childhood cancer.

The product development research grants support the work of two new companies whose projects are likely to bring important cancer care products to patients. An $18.6 million award to Salarius Pharmaceuticals will help it advance development of novel drugs for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a currently incurable bone cancer of pediatric, adolescent and young adult patients. Pelican Therapeutics received an award of $15.2 million to support its work on immunotherapies for lymphoma, lung, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancers. Salarius will be based in Houston and Pelican in Austin.

See attached for a list of all 35 academic research and product development research grants awarded.


About the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas
Beginning operations in 2009, CPRIT has to date awarded nearly $1.57 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions and organizations. CPRIT provides funding through its academic research, prevention and product development research programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached all 254 counties of the state, brought more than 100 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than 2.8 million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans. Learn more at www.cprit.texas.gov. Follow CPRIT on twitter.com/CPRITTexas and like CPRIT on facebook.com/CPRITTexas.

AWARDED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

New Company Product Development — Two grants totaling $33,933,366

  • Pelican Therapeutics, Developing killer T cell therapy for multiple cancers – Austin, three years, $15,245,222*
    This project supports the continued development of novel immunotherapies for lymphoma, lung, prostate, pancreatic and ovarian cancers.
  • Salarius Pharmaceuticals, Developing epigenetic drugs that treat rare and pediatric cancers – Houston., three years, $18,688,144*
    This project supports the development of novel drugs for rare and pediatric cancers and others cancers by developing drugs that interrupt the final steps of the cancer-signaling cascade.

*Maximum amount to be funded upon successful completion of all milestones

AWARDED RESEARCH GRANTS

Core Facility Support Awards (CFSA) — Four grants totaling $19,743,232

  • Baylor College of Medicine
    • Preclinical Candidate Discovery Core (Martin Matzuk) – $5,999,997
  • The University of Texas at Austin
    • Targeted Therapeutic Drug Discovery & Development Program (Kevin Dalby) – $4,982,636
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • Texas Pediatric Patient Derived Xenograft Facility (Peter Houghton) – $5,079,843
    • Cancer Genome Sequencing and Computational Core (Yidong Chen) – $3,680,756

High Impact, High Risk Awards (HIHR) — 21 grants totaling $4,193,354

  • Acelerox
    • Nanoparticle Prophylaxis for Protection from Chemotherapy Ototoxicity (Christopher Durst) – $195,665
  • Baylor College of Medicine
    • A Pap Smear for Ovarian Cancer (Laising Yen) – $200,000
    • RNA Processing Stress: A New Therapeutic Entry Point in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer (Thomas Westbrook) – $200,000
  • Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station
    • A Body Coil for MR Imaging and Spectroscopy of Cancer at 7 Tesla (Steven Wright) – $200,000
  • Texas A&M University
    • Integrated Cavity-Enhanced Pre-Screening for Lung Cancer (John Bevan) – $200,000
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Research
    • Exploring Geminivirus-Encoded Suppressor of Histone Methyltransferases as an Anti-Cancer Drug (Xiuren Zhang) – $199,958
    • Quantitative Mapping of Intracellular Protein-Protein Interactomes in Healthy and Cancerous Cells (Jean-Philippe Pellois) – $198,753
  • Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
    • Novel Roles for NIK in High-Grade Glioma: Regulation of Mitochondrial Dynamics to Control Cell Migration and Invasion (Raquel Sitcheran) – $200,000
    • A Platform Technology for the Isolation of Anti-Cancer Monoclonal Antibodies from Chickens (Zhilei Chen) – $200,000
    • An Unlikely Therapeutic Target for Malignant Bone Disease: Dkk-1 Activates a Stress Resistance Mechanism in Bone Tumor Cells (Carl Gregory) – $200,000
  • Texas State University-San Marcos
    • Chemo-Preventive Approach to Cancer Exploiting a Presumptive Link Between Genomic Instability and Structural Stability of Non-B DNA Sequences (Sean Kerwin) – $200,000
  • Texas Tech University
    • Development of High Throughput Technology to Identify Drugs for Muscle Wasting During Cancer (Siva Vanapalli) – $199,995
  • The University of Texas at Austin
    • Rapid Molecular Diagnosis of Lung Cancer Biopsies by Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry (Livia Schiavinato Eberlin) – $200,000
    • High Affinity Therapeutic Mimotope Antibodies to the Oncogenic Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (Haley Tucker) – $200,000
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
    • Renal Clearable Nanodelivery System for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Therapy (Jie Zheng) – $200,000
    • Optical Opening of Blood-Brain Barrier for Brain Tumor Drug Delivery by Plasmonic Nanobubbles (Zhenpeng Qin) – $200,000
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    • Targeting Multiple Myeloma Stem Cell Niche (Nami McCarty) – $200,000
    • Becoming Fatter to Survive: Cancer Cells Increase Lipid Storage to Counter Metabolic Stress (Guangwei Du) – $200,000
  • The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • Targeting EWS-FLI-1 for Degradation (Yuzuru Shiio) – $200,000
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • Targeting Histone Acetylation Readers in MLL-Translocated Leukemias (Xiaobing Shi) – $200,000
  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    • Amino Acid Sensing: Directing Cell Growth Through mTORC1 (Jenna Jewell) – $198,983

Multi-Investigator Research Awards (MIRA) — Two grants totaling $10,587,315

  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • Defining and Defeating Mechanistic Subtypes of KRAS-Mutant Lung Cancers (Jonathan Kurie) – $5,981,040
    • Pathogenesis and Early Progression of Lung Cancer (Ignacio Wistuba) – $4,606,275

Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members Awards** — Six grants totaling $10,823,067

  • Mark Pellegrino, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas at Arlington from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – $823,067
  • Lydia Finley, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – $2,000,000
  • Omid Veiseh, Ph.D., Recruitment to Rice University from MIT – $2,000,000
  • Myron Ignatius, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School – $2,000,000
  • Charles Kaufman, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – $2,000,000
  • Reto Fiolka, Ph.D., Recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center – $2,000,000

**Recruitment grants awarded indicate only approval to negotiate offers; at the time of release candidates have not accepted offers.

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